Saturday, March 8, 2014

Michael Voris Does Not Go Far Enough

St. Michael the Arch-Voris

A reader sends along this link to a Michael Voris video in which Voris says that the Church "stands for nothing".

In context, Voris is absolutely right.  For 40 years or more many parishes and bishops have indeed stood for nothing, and the Catholic Faith has become meaningless to many of its members and to most potential converts.

And after all, what would draw a person to the Faith?  Art, literature, holiness, intellectual depth, friendship, charity.

What would keep a person from the Faith?  Bad music and architecture, pop psychology homilies that are as nourishing as cotton candy, self-congratulatory nonsense like "Catholic Schools Week", mediocrity, and that awful self-righteousness that comes from Christians thinking they've joined a club that they can beat other people over the head with.

But is the solution the mere anger that Michael Voris stokes?

Are we simply to crash through our ugly and abstract stained glass windows and shout, "I'm mad as hell and I'm not gonna take it any more"?

Well, anger in and of itself is not a bad thing.  It's a reaction to injustice.  This is why Jesus was angry at the money changers, and at the Pharisees.  Reveling in anger, indulging it so that it gets the better of you, allowing anger to make you sneering and bitter - this is the danger.  For anger is a symptom, a symptom that something is wrong.  To be "fully mature in Christ", we have an obligation to bring to bear prudence, charity and all of the other virtues on any passion, especially anger.  If we don't we can easily fall prey to demagoguery.

So my problem with Michael Voris is that he doesn't go far enough.  He should go further.  If your parish priest gives homilies on Gaia worship and limitless tolerance, if he turns a deaf ear to the "music minister's" schlock and to the greed and sexual promiscuity of his congregation, you should be mad at this.  You should be very mad.  You should be mad as hell.  You should not be willing to take it any more.

But if you draw in and become a crank and shut the rest of the world out, if you tear down instead of build up the Body of Christ, you won't do any good.  I speak from experience here.

What the New Evangelization requires first and foremost (and Michael Voris won't say this, as he has a vested interest in playing to your anger and nothing more) is personal sanctity.  Each of us must become holy.  Each of us must internalize Scripture, live the Beatitudes, and learn to love, not in a sappy "luv" kind of way, but with true love, the love of the cross, the love of sacrifice.  Each of us must live out our own vocation, both in our families and in our professions.  If we can become the things that attract people to the Faith - if we can become beautiful stained glass, dignified and deep icons and statues - if we can become Gregorian chants and walking essays by Chesterton and Belloc - if we can become saints - that's when the New Evangelization will begin in earnest.  Of course this isn't easy, but that's how it works - we die to our flesh and become new creations in Christ, the branches of His vine, and the fruit we bear will be His fruit, fruit of the tree of life, not the poisonous fruit of rancor and sectarianism that opportunists like Michael Voris often cultivate.

Meanwhile, don't stand for it.  Be kind and loving, but admonish when you have to, withhold donations when you have to, point out what is wrong when you have to - but always offer a better alternative.

In other words, if you must crash through the ugly and abstract stained glass windows to shout, "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it any more!" - you must be prepared to fashion a more beautiful window to take its place.

And the way to do that is to let the Master make you His own Masterpiece.